Readings for a new version of Rodgers and Hart's The Boys From Syracuse, revised by the caustically funny Off-Broadway playwright Nicky Silver, will be presented June 11-12 by the Roundabout Theatre Company, which is exploring the property.
Artistic director Todd Haimes is said to be warm for the 1938 romp, based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which sports such classic songs as "Falling in Love With Love," "Sing For Your Supper" and "This Can't Be Love." The Roundabout adapters are making slights trims ("Let Antipholus In" is out, said one insider) and interpolating a 1931 Rodgers and Hart tune, "A Lady Must Live," from America's Sweetheart. The reading cast of 20 includes Howard McGillin (Antipholus of Syracuse), Craig Bierko (Antipholus of Ephesus), Lauren Mitchell (Adriana), Becky Ann Baker (Luce), Katie Finneran (Luciana), Chip Zien (Dromio of Syracuse), Stephen DeRosa (Dromio of Ephesus), Jerry Lanning (Ageon, father to the Antipholi), Linda Hart (Madam), Dori Brenner (Seeress), Brooks Ashmanskas (Tailor), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Apprentice) and William Duell (Sorcerer), Michael Winther (Angelo), Michael Mandell (Sargeant), Ric Ryder (Merchant), Amanda Serkasevich (Ensemble), Sondra Bonitto (Ensemble), Ann Arvia (Ensemble), Cynthia Sophiea (Ensemble). Ruthie Henshall was in the cast as Adriana but was replaced by Mitchell.
The musical originally ran 235 performances on Broadway in a production written and directed by George Abbott and choreographed by George Balanchine. A 1963 Off-Broadway production at Theatre Four lasted 502 performances and starred Stuart Damon, Cathryn Damon and Ellen Hanley. The New York City musicals-in-concert series, Encores!, revived the show for a weekend in May 1997. The concert staging starred Rebecca Luker, Malcolm Gets, Debbie Gravitte and Davis Gaines. It was critically embraced and subsequently recorded.
The score makes no attempt to be "classical," despite the Elizabethan and ancient source material (going all the way back to Plautus), and is ripe with Richard Rodgers' jazz and swing music and Lorenz Hart's urbane lyrics.